Warm hospitality is a signature aspect of the Chamorro culture you’ll find on Guam. And at the center of that hospitality, you’ll often find food. Whether you’re being welcomed into someone’s home, celebrating a milestone like a wedding or a birthday, or simply enjoying time with family and friends, food is often a big part of the occasion. 

In addition to the central role it occupies on Guam, the different dishes you’ll find on the island reflect Guam’s history. Many echo the culture of the different groups who have made Guam their home, including those from the Philippines, neighboring Pacific Islands, and Asia. Others reveal influences from the Spanish and Japanese occupation. 

In short, you’ll find plenty of diverse food and Guam, and we’ll show you a few of our traditional favorites. We’ll also throw in our team’s favorite spots to enjoy these dishes (plus others!), so you can get a feel for the full spectrum of the excellent cuisine available on Guam. 

The 8 Best Traditional Foods on Guam 

Fina’dennen Birenghenas

Chicken Kelaguen

This first dish is a personal favorite of DeWitt Guam President, Cori Berking. You might also hear this dish referred to as “eggplant in coconut milk.” To make this dish, eggplant is either boiled or grilled, then peeled and shredded. Finally, the eggplant is mixed with coconut milk, onions, red peppers, garlic, and lemon. Since the dish’s ingredients give it such a unique flavorfina’dennen birenghenas has even been known to win over people who claim not to like eggplant. If you find yourself in this camp, this traditional favorite is worth a try!   

Tinala’ Katni

Tinala’ Katni

This next dish was recommended by two of our DeWitt Guam team: Vice President and General Manager Victor Valenzuela and Business Development Coordinator Becky Chiguina. Tinala’ katni is essentially dried beef, often served as an appetizer along with fina’denne’, a Chamorro dipping sauce you’ll see on almost every table in Guam. (More on that next!)

Finadenne

To compare fina’denne’ to ketchup would be doing this distinctive Chamorro condiment a disservice. However, if you want to understand just how commonly fina’denne’ is used, it’s as ubiquitous in Guam as ketchup at an American restaurant on the mainland.

This spicy dipping sauce has a fascinating history that was first documented in the early 20th century—and likely has a long history that predates its recorded one. Fina’denne’ was also significantly influenced by the Japanese (who are credited with the addition of soy sauce) and the Filipinos (who taught the Chamorro to harvest coconut sap, which gets fermented into vinegar for this sauce).ii

Finally, fina’denne’ comes in a number of varieties. DeWitt Guam team member Becky Chiguina particularly enjoys “the infused kind with coconut milk, crab paste and tiny bits of eggplant, green beans, and onion for added flavor and texture. It’s so yummy!” You could probably do an entire Guam tasting tour based on fina’denne’, so keep your eyes out for all of the different varieties.

Chamorro Barbecue

Chamorro Barbecue

In addition to her affection for chicken kelaguen, DeWitt Guam team member Joyce Diamadi also mentioned her love of Chamorro barbecue. The secret lies in the marinating of the meat. In traditional Chamorro barbecue, chicken and ribs are marinated for a full day in soy sauce, vinegar, lemon, sugar, onion, and garlic before being grilled over an open fire, often fueled by tangan-tangan wood. Serve with some red rice (more on that in a moment) or a salad and enjoy! 

Kadon Pika

Kadon Pika

Pika is a Chamorro word that means “spicy,” so you can get a sense of where this dish is going. Kadon pika is a chicken stew, often served over rice, that includes some ingredients that you’ll be familiar with by now—coconut milk, soy sauce, vinegar, peppers, onions, and garlic. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, you could theoretically leave out the hot peppers when you make this dish at home, but you’d also be missing out on the fun! 

Buñelos Uhang

Buñelos Uhang (Shrimp Patties)

If you’ve ever had a corn fritter in the Southern U.S. or a conch fritter in the Caribbean, you’ve already got an idea of what buñelos uhang are like. Chamorro shrimp patties involve a mixture of shrimp, vegetables, and dough which are deep fried until the outside is golden and crispy. The exact ingredients vary, and some cooks guard their recipes religiously. However, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to taste a number of different varieties of this traditional dish. If you pry the recipe out of the chef, consider yourself lucky!  

Chamorro Red Rice

Like fina’denne, red rice is a staple of Chamorro cuisine. You’ll find it at every gathering, and Kentucky Fried Chicken even serves its own version. This eye-catching dish gets its deep orange hue from achiote seeds, which the Spanish brought to Guam, likely from Mexico. (You may also know achiote as annatto.) The seeds are soaked overnight, or you can use achiote/annatto powder, although traditionalists swear the seeds imbue the dish with deeper flavor. When done right, traditional red rice is flavorful accompaniment that leaves plain white rice in the dust. 

Our Favorite Places to Eat Out on Guam

While you’re exploring the best traditional dishes on Guam, you may be lucky enough to get invited to a friend’s house to enjoy their homemade versions.

However, if you find yourself hankering for a night out on the town, we also compiled a few of our team’s favorite restaurants on Guam. Some offer traditional Chamorro dishes. Others will give you a glimpse into the varied international influences you’ll find on Guam. All of them will leave you deeply satisfied with your Guam culinary experience.

Meskla

Meskla means “mix”—a perfect name for a restaurant specializing in Chamorro fusion cuisine. Both Cori Berking and Becky Chiguina recommend heading to Meskla to get a taste of modern Chamorro cooking. Cori is particular to the Shrimp “Uhang” Burger, as well as the barbecue chicken and short ribs. Becky’s favorite is Meskla’s tinala’ katni with dinanche.

Locations:
Hagåtña and Tamuning

Specialty:
Chamorro fusion cuisine

Three Squares

Three Squares offers a little of everything: traditional Chamorro favorites, classic American staples like burgers and lasagna, and dishes from Guam’s near(ish) neighbors in Asia and the Pacific. If you’re interested in trying tinala’ katni, Victor Valenzuela recommends heading over to Three Squares, where they serve theirs with corn titiyas and Three Squares coconut dinanche.

Locations
Tamuning

Specialty:
A little bit of everything

McKraut’s German Restaurant and Beer Garden

Of all the restaurants you might expect to find in Guam, a German beer garden might not be among them. However, Cori Berking recommends McKraut’s as a favorite of the DeWitt Guam team. In addition to its brats, jägerschnitzel, and apple strudel, McKraut’s is known for its wide selection of European beers. For those of you who aren’t ready to travel to Europe from Guam, McKraut’s also has traditional American cuisine, like cheeseburgers and onion rings.

Locations:
Inarajan

Specialty:
German cuisine

Sejong Korean Restaurant

Considering its proximity to Asia, it’s not surprising that you’ll find a number of Asian restaurants in Guam. This Korean spot is one of Joyce Diamadi’s favorites. At this “delicious” restaurant, she suggests trying a few selections from their extensive appetizer menu—and don’t miss their barbecue short ribs.

Locations:
Tamuning

Specialty:
Korean cuisine

Exploring Guam, One Dish at a Time 

There’s so much to do on Guam, including exploring Guam’s history, Chamorro culture, and its unique cuisine. Let this article act as a jumping-off point for getting to know the island of Guam, one taste at a time. Savor every moment!  

Moving to Guam? We’d be happy to help you make a safe, easy, and affordable move to the island. Get started with a complimentary quote from our Tamuning-based team. (And feel free to ask them about their favorite spots on Guam!) 

Tell us about your move!